- Choose empirically provable claims. If it’s not empirically provable, it isn’t fact-checking. To illustrate, we can check number of women in the U.S. Congress or the location of the school in Florida where the mass shooting took place, or if someone said a particular statement in a recorded and published speech. By contrast, we can’t check what the same person implied by his or her statement.
- Focus more on claims which have received attention such as viral news stories and tweets.
- Choose claims which apparently need to be verified. This is especially true if they are about a controversial issue or if you have doubts on their plausibility, or if their accuracy is decisive for the meaning of a statement, but they are lacking evidence.
- WikiTribune is open to all kinds of claims as long as they can be checked. What stays and what doesn’t is a matter of community consensus.
Laying out the page
- Cite the claim properly, always link to the source of the claim.
- When fact-checking quotes, or when attributing a claim to a person, always quote the person verbatim, in addition to having a link to the source of the claim. Pay full attention to the context of the quote, don’t just check if the quote itself is correct or not. The context may alter the meaning. See this fact checking report as an example.
- Be careful with dates, both of when you checked things, when a claim was made and when a source was published. For example, a claim might have been considered true at the time it was made, but subsequent events may have rendered it moot.Be especially careful when some sources have removed nuance from an original report or quote. As well as notorious ones such as many otherwise reputable news stories stripping out margins of error when reporting opinion polls, there are false summaries. For example when Donald Tusk criticized those who had lead Britain into Brexit ” without a sketch of a plan”, the last part of the criticism was frequently omitted, thus broadening his criticism to all Brexiteers, whether they had a plan or not.
- Be careful about addressing names, use the right and correct title, for instances, this list shows the list members of Congress always refer to official source to properly addressing people who you intend to fact check them.
Correction of Errors
- WikiTribune is a wiki, meaning that mistakes will be made, but they can also be undone/fixed!
- If you see a mistake, first consider fixing it yourself.
- If you don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself, let others know on the TALK page.
Role of Community and Editors
- Community is at the heart of WT fact-checking. This is a collaborative effort by the group.
- If there is a dispute, remember to seek consensus on the TALK page before making big changes.
- Trusted users and staff administrators may at times be called upon to judge the veracity of a claim, or to judge community consensus. (This is similar to the role of administrators in Wikipedia RfCs.)
The right to reply
- An essential part of the process is to give people a right to reply when we fact check their claims. This gives them the opportunity to clarify and add more information about their stated claim(s). We do this by first sending a direct email to the person and also asking them to write directly on the article’s TALK page.
This is an evolving document!
- As a wiki, nothing is ever done! This is the first draft of the fact-checking guidelines, but please, be bold, if you see something wrong, change something!